Goa Police on Saturday said BJP leader Sonali Phogat was given methamphetamine, a recreational drug, by her aides hours before her death, as two more persons were arrested in the case related to her alleged murder. It took the number of arrests in the case to four. Of those arrested on
Saturday, Dattaprasad Gaonkar had allegedly provided drugs to Phogat’s aides Sudhir Sagwan and Sukhwinder Singh who fed them to her, police said. Edwin Nunes, the other arrested man, is the owner of the Curlies restaurant in North Goa district where Phogat and her aides had partied on the intervening night of August 22 and 23.
Phogat was administered methamphetamine, a kind of recreational drug, and some left-over drug was recovered from the restaurant’s washroom, said Deputy Superintendent of Police Jivba Dalvi.
Sagwan and Sukhwinder Singh, arrested earlier, allegedly told police that they had procured drugs from Gaonkar who worked as a room boy at Hotel Grand Leoney Resort in Anjuna where they were staying.
Gaonkar and Nunes were booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, police said. Videos of CCTV footage from the restaurant also emerged on social media during the day.
In one video, Phogat can be seen dancing with Sagwan. Sagwan is seen forcing her to drink water which she instantly spits out. Another video shows Phogat being escorted out of the restaurant by the accused. She is seen staggering and almost falling near the staircase on her way out. Phogat, a former TikTok star and contestant on the reality show Big Boss, died on August 23, a day after arrival in Goa.
On Friday, police had said that Sagwan and Singh allegedly mixed some “obnoxious substance” in water and forced Phogat to drink it. Phogat was brought dead to St Anthony Hospital at Anjuna in North Goa district on
August 23 morning from the hotel where she was staying. The doctors said she had had a heart attack, but her brother alleged that Sagwan and Singh, who had arrived in Goa with her, had played a role in her death. The duo were detained and a First Information Report for murder was registered after the autopsy report said that there were multiple “blunt force injuries” on her body though it reserved opinion on the cause of death pending chemical analysis.
Police had said the “economic interest” could be a motive behind her killing. A local court on Saturday remanded Sagwan and Singh in police custody for ten days. Nunes had told PTI earlier that Phogat had visited his restaurant `like any other customer’ but he had not met her.
Opposition Congress, meanwhile, demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into the alleged murder, saying the case could be hushed up otherwise. “Many politicians said her death was due to a heart attack. But finally it has been revealed as murder. There is more to this murder than meets the eye and every angle needs to be investigated. These kinds of cases need to be investigated by the CBI,” said Leader of Opposition in Goa Assembly Michael Lobo.